Eighteen months ago, my husband and daughter returned from a trip to India full of fascination, endless stories, and inside jokes — the “head nod,” the lady holding the ax as the crowd formed, the colors and vibrancy everywhere, the smiles. And the movie shown on the plane during the trip home: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Except they couldn’t remember the name of the movie, just how so many of the scenes and lines were what they had just experienced — “In India, there is always more room on the bus!” 🙂
Last month the Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was released and my daughter went nuts: “That’s it! We have to see it! But you have to see the first one before you see this one!” So I did; must be prepared to watch #2 with her when she comes home from college in a few weeks!
If you are unfamiliar with this movie, it is the story of several British retirees who move to India for a more affordable life in what is (not quite accurately!) advertised as a luxury retirement hotel. Sonny Kapoor, the young and non-financially savvy owner of the hotel, is fervently working to bring the reality up to par with his photoshopped version of the premises. Unfortunately, more than Sonny’s blind optimism those premises really need contractors, electricians, plumbers, and paying guests to finance it all (not necessarily in that order!). Despite the missing bedroom doors and lack of working plumbing, and with his typical humor, Sonny refuses to let go of his vision: “I have a dream, MummyJi, a most brilliant one. To outsource old age! And it is not just for the British, there are many other countries where they don’t like old people too!” (When I stopped chuckling, I realized how sharp was that barb! 😕 )
There is so much in this movie: growing older, living and loving when you are young, living and loving when you are old, learning to thrive, discovering — or rediscovering — your purpose. There is also loss, fulfillment, disappointment, bitterness, regret, forgiveness, and so much more. I love how the owner of the hotel describes his resort as a place for the “elderly and beautiful,” because the elderly are beautiful — their experiences give them depth, their lines and gray hair testify to years of life lived, sometimes with joy, sometimes without; but the end product is a thing of unique beauty.
I didn’t necessarily agree with the worldview of the characters, but that is not what I’m discussing in this post. Rather, I want to talk about how real those characters were and what we can learn from them. This started out as a single post, but I quickly discovered I needed to break this into at least two parts, so make sure you don’t miss Part 2 next week!
“In India we have a saying: ‘It will be alright in the end. If it is not alright, it is not yet the end.'”
I love this expression! It is full of hope and confidence. It is positive and optimistic about the future. But, bless his heart, when Sonny says this, you want to hug him and then ask for a full refund! My first response was to laugh at this line (which I did, because this movie is both a comedy and a drama), but then I thought how far-reaching this statement really is.
If God is sovereign, which I believe He is, then everything will be alright in the end.
Yet, in reality, some everyday circumstances just don’t seem like they are turning out alright. Sometimes, they truly seem to end in disaster. We suffer pain, loss, difficulties, and tragedy. And often, things do seem to end in any number of ways that seem anything but “alright.” I guess that begs the question, what is the end?
For me, it is the “eternal end” (oxymoron acknowledged! 🙂 ). Therefore, because of God’s grace and sovereignty, I can trust that “…all things work together for good to those who love God…” (Romans 8:28). Does it get anymore “alright” than that??
So, yeah, it will be alright in the end. And if it is not alright, it most definitely is not yet the end! There you have it, folks! Be like Sonny — be optimistic, be cheerful, follow your God-given passions, and thrive!
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.”
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